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RAIDER ROUNDUP: Quirke leads SOU to sweep, share of CCC title

HELENA, Mont. — Southern Oregon clinched hosting rights for the Cascade Conference Tournament, at least a share of the regular-season title, and another 40-win season while fattening up on Carroll (Mont.) pitching with 10-5 and 18-0 victories Friday at Centennial Park.

The momentous afternoon coincided with a cartoonish outing for senior Lauren Quirke. Her player-of-the-year case picked up more steam as she went 8-for-9 with two home runs, three doubles, nine RBIs and seven runs scored at the plate, and pitched a two-hit shutout that wrapped up in five innings in Game 2.

The Raiders (40-2 overall, 24-1 CCC) — winners of 15 straight — totaled 35 hits in the doubleheader. They clinched thanks to College of Idaho’s back-to-back losses to Oregon Tech, which left both teams four games back the Raiders with four to play.

SOU can claim its third consecutive conference championship outright with another win against the Saints (12-27, 7-16) Saturday. The twin bill starts at 10 a.m. Pacific Time.

Several other Raiders joined the hit parade: Allie Stines went 6-for-7 on the day with five runs and three RBIs; Riley Donovan went 5-for-5 with five RBIs, four runs scored, her sixth homer of the season in Game 2, and two doubles; Avery Morehead-Hutsell and Hannah Shimek had four hits apiece; and Erika Marquez blasted her first career homer as a pinch-hitter in Game 2.

The opener was tied 5-5 before Quirke’s RBI single in the fourth inning. In the sixth, she launched a three-run home run.

Despite giving up five earned runs, Raider pitcher Gabby Sandoval improved to 21-0 with her 20th complete game. She struck out eight.

Quirke’s Game 2 victory made her 14-2. Before ever throwing a pitch, she gave herself a 2-0 lead with a two-run shot — her ninth of the season — in the top of the first. She and Donovan hit RBI doubles in the second, and the Raiders scored eight on five hits in the third.

Rylan Austin went 2-for-3 with three RBIs and Morehead-Hutsell scored three runs in Game 2.

Track and field

BRUNER TAKES THIRD IN CCC HEPTATHLON: At Ashland, Southern Oregon freshman Camdyn Bruner finished strong to earn All-Cascade Conference accolades with a third-place showing in the CCC Multi-Events Championships women's heptathlon Raider Stadium.

The conclusion of the two-day CCC heptathlon and decathlon overlapped with the start of the Raider Invitational, which saw Raider sophomore Isaac Fernandez secure an automatic spot at the NAIA Championships in the 10,000-meter race with an 'A' standard time of 31:10.56.

Bruner, who was in seventh place in the heptathlon through Thursday's first four disciplines, totaled 4,340 points through all seven. On Friday, she shot up four spots by posting the 15-person field's sixth-best long jump mark, fourth-best javelin throw, and a runner-up finish in the 800-meter finale in 2:24.90 that yielded 733 points.

The Raider women accumulated nine points towards their CCC Championships score as Julia Delucchi finished fifth in the standings with 4,137 points. Jenna Hodges was 13th with 3,823.

Bruner stands at seventh on the NAIA performance list and Delucchi at 15th. The final top-16 will qualify for the NAIA Championships.

Corban's Valerie Schmidt won the heptathlon with 4,772 points, and Eastern Oregon's TJ Davis won the men's decathlon with 6,496.

Raider All-American Joseph Dotson surrendered his lead with a no-height in the pole vault — the eighth of 10 disciplines — but still scrambled to register 6,210 points. That landed him at No. 4 in the CCC standings and No. 8 on the national performance list, which leaves him in solid position to snag a berth to the NAIA Championships.

SOU freshman Solomon Tinnon had a stellar fifth-place showing with 5,971 points, giving the Raider men nine CCC Championship points.

In the Raider Invitational, Fernandez became SOU's fourth automatic men's qualifier for the NAIA Championships with his 10K time, which ranks 14th nationally. He needed 31:16 for the 'A' mark and beat that by just over five seconds.

In the hammer, Matthew O'Henley notched a 'B' mark of 168 feet 8 inches and finished fourth behind third-place Trevor Holt (176-7), who already owns an 'A' in the event.

Elsewhere for the Raider men, AJ Sandvig won the 1,500 in 4:03.06 and Zeke Stelzer's runner-up time of 15:22.08 in the 5K made him a CCC Championships qualifier. Adam O'Brien's clearance of 15-5 won the pole vault.

For the women, Sydnee Kizziar's runner-up 5K time of 18:24.86 was the fastest by a CCC runner this season by a margin of 13 seconds. The Raiders also got second-place performances by Baylee Touey in the 400 (58.92) and KiAshe Hobby in the hammer (167-0).

Men’s Basketball

SOUTHERN OREGON 73, WARNER PACIFIC 65: At Ashland, Southern Oregon snapped out of a mini-slump and put away Warner Pacific for a Cascade Conference win at Lithia Motors Pavilion.

Junior guard Tez Allen’s 3-pointer gave the Raiders a 68-65 with three minutes to play. The score was the same with 27 seconds left when Allen found forward Josh Meyer deep beyond the arc at the end of the shot clock for another 3 that iced the win.

Allen turned in 17 points, six rebounds, five assists and two steals. Meyer had nine points and nine rebounds, and junior guard Jake Virga went 3-for-6 from deep to score 14 points with three assists.

SOU also got stellar contributions from its three freshmen. Twenty-three of the Raiders’ 26 buckets were assisted, and Mason Whittaker accounted for seven of them. Joe Juhala posted season-highs of eight points and six rebounds. And Elijah Jackson had six points and five assist, and a key three-point play down the stretch.

Josh Washington chipped in eight points and seven rebounds.

The Raiders, who help WPU to 40 percent shooting, went to 4-3 in the CCC. The Knights went to 3-4.

Andy Atkinson / Mail TribuneSOU's Lauren Quirke, seen here against College of Idaho earlier this month, led the Raiders’ charge in Friday’s sweep of Carroll.